Leeds Rhinos defeated Hull KR 28-20 last night in a win that further cemented their play-off hopes as they opened a three point lead on Hull KR in the race for sixth place.
It’s another win that marks the shift in fortunes at Headingley with Leeds finally looking on the up after a tough few years after the end of the golden generation.
With play-offs on the cards, Leeds playing great rugby and developing players again, success doesn’t seem as far away as it once did and it was this that led Phil Clarke to compare the Rhinos to Liverpool FC and the 30 years they spent in the wilderness on Sky Sports.
“I think Leeds might have been a little bit like Liverpool Football Club who had a period of success for a long time but then suffered for a period after with the pressure and the expectation,” Clarke said, “I don’t think they coped with that as well other clubs do in the past, particularly St Helens who we see transition players through.
“I don’t know whether the culture change, or they couldn’t handle the success they’d had.”
Clarke was joined in the Sky Sports studio by former Leeds boss Richard Agar who played a key role in Leeds’ tougher years after their success dried up in 2017.
He stepped down from his role earlier this season after a tough start for the Rhinos with Rohan Smith instead coming in and working wonders.
However, Agar revealed that he wasn’t hurt by what he was seeing and hearing from his former players and explained why his time had to come to an end when it did despite the work he put into the project and a Challenge Cup win in 2020.
“The industry we’re in, don’t forget the way I got the job,” Agar said, “I came in ended up on Dave’s staff for three week and I’m sure if you put some interviews from around then you’ll hear a similar sort of rhetoric. That’s the cycle of what goes on in sport.
“It was a talented team and there was plenty going on and I knew there were some battles I just wasn’t going to win.”